Amazon Could Launch Qualcomm-Powered Games Console And Media Box By End Of Year

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Amazon is working on a games console, according to rumors from Game Informer and backed up by rumblings we’ve heard at TechCrunch as well. Game Informer says we’ll see the device by end of year, possibly in time for holiday shopping season, and that it will have its own dedicated controller and offer access to digital games sold online by Amazon.com.

We’ve heard from a reliable source that the hardware Amazon is building could be powered by a Qualcomm MPQ chip, which is the Snapdragon processor line the chipmaking company builds specifically for smart TV and set-top box devices. That, combined with earlier rumours that have emerged suggesting Amazon is working on a set-top device as reported by the Wall Street Journal, combine to suggest that while gaming may be part of this potential new hardware, it won’t be the sole focus. Nor does it make sense for Amazon to focus only on games; it has a huge vested interest in pushing digital music and movies, so why not do a device that combines all three?

Our source also informs us that the Amazon box is being worked on at Lab126, the Cupertino-based experimental hardware division that first created the Kindle. That’s been reported earlier this year by Bloomberg and other sources, but our informant says those plans are still on track and that this is the gaming device being discussed now as well.

We’ve also heard from separate sources reports of developers being approached by Amazon regarding developing games for their hardware, which means it could be more than just a media center PC designed to play the digital downloads it already offers. Amazon might be looking more at competing with devices like the OUYA and the upcoming BlueStacks GamePop and GamePop Mini, if it’s securing original content from small developers.

Webush Securities analyst Michael Pachter previously suggested that Amazon could even give away its hardware to Amazon Prime subscribers, similar to the model that BlueStacks is promising GamePop Mini buyers in exchange for subscription to their all-you-can-play mobile console gaming subscription. We haven’t heard anything specific regarding that possibility, but Amazon’s interests would definitely lie in making more money from content, not in hardware margins.

We reached out to both Amazon and Qualcomm for more information, and Amazon responded saying that it doesn’t comment on “rumors or speculation,” while Qualcomm hasn’t responded as of press time. The fact that these rumors are floating up for a second time definitely suggests that Amazon’s living hardware plans are a key area to watch, for both consumers and competitors.